Hawaii Revised Statutes Division 1. Government § 264-1. Public highways and trails

(a) All roads, highways, alleys, streets, ways, lanes, bikeways, bridges, and all other real property highway related interests in the State, opened, laid out, subdivided, consolidated, and acquired and built by the government are declared to be public highways.  Public highways are of two types:

(1) State highways, which are those lands, interests, or other real property rights, as defined above, having an alignment or possession of a real property highway related interest as established by law, subdivided and acquired in accordance with policies and procedures of the department of transportation, separate and exempt from any county subdivision ordinances, and all those under the jurisdiction of the department of transportation;  and

(2) County highways, which are all other public highways.

(b) All trails, and other nonvehicular rights-of-way in the State declared to be public rights-of-ways by the Highways Act of 1892, or opened, laid out, or built by the government or otherwise created or vested as nonvehicular public rights-of-way at any time thereafter, or in the future, are declared to be public trails.  A public trail is under the jurisdiction of the state board of land and natural resources unless it was created by or dedicated to a particular county, in which case it shall be under the jurisdiction of that county.

(c) All highways, roads, alleys, streets, ways, bikeways, bridges, and trails in the State, opened, laid out, or built by private parties and dedicated or condemned to the public use, are declared to be public highways or public trails as follows:

(1) Dedication of public highways, roads, alleys, streets, ways, lanes, bikeways, bridges, or trails shall be by deed of conveyance naming the State as grantee in the case of a state highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail and naming the county as grantee in the case of a county highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail.  The deed of conveyance shall be delivered to and accepted by the director of transportation in the case of a state highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, or bridge, or the board of land and natural resources in the case of a state trail.  In the case of a county highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or county trail, the deed shall be delivered to and accepted by the legislative body of a county;  provided that in every case where the highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or county trail is constructed and completed as required by any ordinance of the county or any rule, regulation, or resolution thereof having the effect of law, the legislative body of the county shall accept the dedication of the same without exercise of discretion;  and

(2) Condemnation of public highways, roads, alleys, streets, ways, lanes, bikeways, bridges, or trails initiated by the State or county pursuant to chapter 101, shall be by final order of condemnation by a court;  provided that any private owner of a highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail may petition the mayor of the county in which the highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail is located to initiate condemnation proceedings if the highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail is part of a public road, ownership has not been exercised by limiting use or access, or the State or county has provided some form of maintenance to the highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail in the interest of the public;  provided further that a private owner may only petition the mayor of a county after the dissolution of the roads commission established by Act 194, Session Laws of Hawaii 2016;  provided further that in every case where the highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail is constructed and completed as required by any ordinance of the county or any rule, regulation, or resolution thereof having the effect of law at the time of construction and completion, the highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail shall be exempt from meeting the construction standards in place at the time of condemnation by the State or county.

(d) If a privately owned highway, road, alley, street, way, lane, bikeway, bridge, or trail is deemed to have been dedicated to or condemned by the State or county pursuant to subsection (c), the State or county shall be exempt for a period of three years from any state laws or rules adopted pursuant thereto that would require the State or county to perform construction, reconstruction, preservation, resurfacing, restoration, or rehabilitation upon it.

(e) All county public highways and trails once established shall continue until vacated, closed, abandoned, or discontinued by a resolution of the legislative body of the county wherein the county highway or trail lies.  All state trails once established shall continue until lawfully disposed of pursuant to the requirements of chapter 171.


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